“What is going on Ratchet?” Optimus asked the medic. “I know you, so don’t try to tell me that it is nothing.”
“It’s Sam.” Ratchet started.
“What?! I thought you said she was fine?” Optimus exclaimed.
“She is fine. Nothing wrong with her. There is just something off about her. I can’t put my finger on it, to borrow a phrase from the humans. With her companions as well. They all have a transmitter under their skin, but other than that they are all in perfect health. I couldn’t find anything wrong with them.”
“That’s a good thing right?” Optimus asked. “The health part, not that about the transmitters.”
“I guess. Nevertheless, why on Earth would they go around with miniature transmitters? Surgically implanted under their skin?” Ratchet wondered aloud, not mentioning that it should be practically impossible to be as healthy as Sam and her friends were. There had actually been nothing wrong with them.
“I don’t know old friend. Sometimes these humans do many illogically things.” Optimus admitted.
“I guess so.” Ratchet agreed, but he could not quite shake the feeling that something was different about the Sam that had come back to them, and the Sam that had left after Egypt.
“There is no way he didn’t pick up on your subcutaneous transmitter when he scanned you. And who knows what else he found.” Danny commented quietly when the Sergeant and that yellow robot – no, mech – left them alone.
“I know, that’s why I am going out now to speak to him.” Sam responded and peaked out to see if there were anyone nearby.
“Are you sure that is a good idea?” Josh asked hesitantly.
“He is a Doctor. Doctor-patient confidentiality you know. Hopefully it will work with aliens as well.” Sam flashed a wicked grin. “No matter what happened in the past I trust them. I trust Ratchet and if he swears not to tell anything to anyone then I know he won’t. And I believe that as long as I explain things to him he will grant me my wish.”
The three men in her life exchanged glances before Charlie spoke up. “We trust you, so if you say we can trust this Ratchet then go speak with him.” Sam gave them a grateful smile before disappearing into the shadows of the empty hallway.
Sam had figured that it would be difficult to get Ratchet alone without any of the other mechs seeing her, and starting to ask questions why she needed to see the Medic, but she got a happy surprised when she saw the yellow emergency vehicle that was Ratchet’s alt form, standing all alone outside the shooting range.
The mech did not seem to notice her before she tapped his door and asked him to open up, something he did without asking any questions; it was obvious that the medic had found something that threw him off and that he now wanted some answers. He also knew that he would only get his answers in private.
“Thanks for not spilling the beans earlier.” Sam broke the silence and started what she reckoned could be an awkward conversation.
“Well…” the mech started equally as hesitant. “There weren’t really anything to ‘spill’. Both you and the rest of your team are ‘healthy as a horse’, as I believe the saying goes.”
“That we are. We are in top condition.” Sam agreed. “But that’s not why you are out here alone. At least not the only reason.” she stated.
“No. I have to admit that I was hoping you would drop by.”
“Here I am. So, shoot. What do you want to know?” Sam asked.
The Medic gave her a short laugh. “I guess that if I ask you to tell me where you have been these last few years, and what you have done, you’ll just leave. So instead I’ll ask about the transmitter you have implanted under your skin. Do you know that you and your team all have it? Are you aware of what it does?” Ratchet sounded very concerned on her behalf.
“You’ve guessed that one right.” Sam nodded. “I can’t tell you, at least not yet, but maybe someday in the future I will.” She suddenly remembered that she had not gotten him to promise that what she said stayed between them.
“Ratchet. Now that I am the Ambassador for the Autobots… does that make you my Doctor?” She waited on his hesitant confirmation before continuing. “And that the Doctor-Patient confidentiality states that you can’t tell anyone what I say to you in confidence.” Sam could hear that Ratchet now knew where this was going and did not like it. “Ratchet.” Sam put a hand over the autobot symbol on Ratchet’s steering wheel. “I want you to swear on Primus that anything I tell you now will stay between us. I need you to promise me that you won’t tell Optimus or Bumblebee or anyone else. Do you swear?”
“I swear on Primus that I will not say a word as long as you want me to.” Ratchet swore. “And while doctor-patient confidentiality is a human law, I try to stay neutral and silent with matters that doesn’t threaten anyone.”
“Thanks Ratchet. Now on to your question. Yes, we know about the subcutaneous transmitters. You have no idea how many times it has saved my life in the past. And just so you know it is Decepticon-safe, we have made sure of it.” Ratchet sighted in relief when he heard that. “For what it does… it tells my people where we are so that they know where to look if we ever need extraction.”
“Does that happen often?” Ratchet asked curiously.
“More often than we want, but my team is not the worst by far. That doubtful honor goes to my CO and his team.” Sam laughed. “But don’t come here and tell me that the transmitters were the only thing that intrigued you. Don’t hesitate to ask your questions, I promise I won’t get offended. And while there are some questions I can’t answer, I’ll tell you what I can.”
“You are right, the subcutaneous transmitters – as you call them – weren’t everything I found. Your DNA, It’s been changed since you last were here.” Ratchet confirmed Danny’s suspicions.
“Yeah.” Sam drawled, “I know about that too. And it didn’t only happen to me, my team is the same.” Sam stopped for a moment, her fingers tapping in her lap as she tried to figure out how much she could tell the Medic. “The place I have been stationed at is filled with geniuses and scientists. Sometimes they know what they are doing, other times not so much. What happened with me and my team is in the latter category. We were exposed to something that changed us. We are faster, stronger, smarter, etc. Not that we were not bright to begin with; the AllSpark gave me a royal boost, Charlie is a genius, and Danny and Josh had an above average IQ. Therefore, we had a good basis to begin with, and it built on that. Neither of us have been sick after the incident, and any injury we get heal almost instantly. We don’t need much sleep, and can go days without food before we feel any effect. I guess you can call us super human or something similar.” Sam explained.
“Is there more of you?” was Ratchet only reply, his processor busy taking in the information Sam had given him.
“One more team was affected at the same time as us, but no one else. The higher ups decided that risking our enemies getting their hand on that kind of technology was far too dangerous, and I agree with them.” Sam answered honestly, before asking a question of her own. “So what have happened here since I left?”
“Nothing major. We have hunted down a few Decepticons, but there has been no sign of Megatron or Starscream yet. Other than that, we have been trying to find you. You had us really worried when you disappeared like that you know, Major Lennox and Optimus especially.” Ratchet informed her.
Sam sighted, the Medic’s statement combined with how happy Bee had been earlier had sort of made her guilty. “I know and I am sorry. I should have found a way to inform you that I was fine, but those two made me so mad the way they put me on house arrest. Or base arrest, or whatever you want to call it,” Sam sighted again. “Had they just had the decency to come out and speak to me first, things probably would be different. Told me how things were, instead of springing it all on me in front of everyone and confiding me to base…» She trailed off.
“They care about you a lot, we all do. And when you died in Egypt… it was a wake-up call. We all realized how mortal we were, you humans in particular. After Mission City and your face down with Megatron I guess we all thought that there were nothing that could take you down; that you would always come through and land on your feet. When they found a way to keep you safe I guess they grabbed it with both hands. I don’t know if I would have done anything differently.” Ratchet tried to explain and ease away her anger, yet still be honest with her.
“I know Ratchet. I have had years to think about this. However, I don’t think I can forgive them just like that. A part of me want to, but another part of me is more hesitant. They have tried to take over my life once, will they try again if I give them another chance? And I am a soldier, there is no way they can keep me out of danger. If they want me to stay here where it is safe all the time, I can promise you that I will go insane.” Sam ranted, her hands moving in agitation.
Ratchet did not say anything more about that subject, but the two of them chatted together for quite some time about nothing and everything. Ratchet had even agreed to try to teach Sam Cybertronian even if it the chance that she would actually be able to speak it was slim to none, she would at least understand it. When their conversation neared its end and Sam saw Ironhide enter the shooting range, she opened Ratchet’s door and jumped out gracefully.
“It’s been fun, let’s do it again some time.” She smiled and patted his side as she walked towards the entrance to the range.
“Let’s.” Ratchet replied and Sam could hear the smile in his voice before he drove off towards his own hangar.
“Hey ‘Hide!” Sam greeted the big mech when he came into her sight. “How are you doing? Bee highjacked me before I had a chance to ask earlier. Is that new canons?” She grinned up at the trigger-happy alien soldier when he enthusiastically started to talk about, and show her, his canons.
“He really missed you, you know.” Ironhide stated after a while, looking a bit out of place.
“Who?” Sam asked even if she had a suspicion about whom he meant.
“Will. Not that the rest of us didn’t miss you, but I think Will missed you the most.” the black mech babbled. It was obvious that this kind of conversation was not one of his strong points.
“Are you too going to tell me why he did what he did, that he had good reasons, and that I should forgive him? If you are, you are a bit late. I’ve already gotten the speech. And I know why he did it, but I haven’t gotten to the point where I can forgive him quite yet.” Sam informed him before Ironhide had a chance to get into deeper water.
“Okay.” was the only response she got while the mech looked relieved.
“Okay? Just like that?” Sam asked disbelieving.
“Yes. As long as you haven’t rejected the idea of forgiving him completely. ‘Cause he cares about you a great deal. After you disappeared it was like a piece of him was missing. I am no expert, but I think he thinks of you as his spark mate.” Ironhide confided quietly.
“’Hide…” Sam didn’t know what to say; she was stunned speechless.
“You don’t have to do anything. I just wanted you to know.” Ironhide looked down at the floor, obviously embarrassed of the subject.
“Thanks ‘Hide.” Sam smiled. “I don’t know if I believe you. Sure we were friends; he might even have looked at me like a second sister, but…” She sighted. “I can’t promise that I’ll forgive him. Or Optimus. It is likely that I will. But they need to sweat a bit before I even consider the idea.”
“Oh, I know how he acts around someone he thinks of as a sister, and that’s not it.” Ironhide chuckled.
“Speaking of his sister, how is Sarah doing? And Anabelle?” Sam asked changing the subject.
The black mech gave her a look that told her he knew what she was doing, but he let it slide. “They are both living on base now and doing fine. Anabelle loves being able to see her father every day, and Sarah has met her spark mate and they have produced a sparkling.”
“They are living on base? Why?” Sam also wanted to know more about this guy Sarah was seeing and the child, but figured that ‘Hide probably wasn’t the correct mech to ask those questions to.
“The Decepticons wanted revenge after we kicked their afts in Egypt. Luckily, or unluckily, depends on how you see it, the person they were interested in – you – were gone. The next person on their list – Lennox – was too well protected, so instead they went after those dear to him; Sarah and Anabelle. We barely managed to get to them in time, but we did, and Sarah have worked here since as one of the nurses.”
Sam felt the rage fill her. How dared those filthy Decepticons go after a woman and a child? She knew that that sort of thing was something she should have expected from them, but could not help the urge to go out and hunt down some of those bastards. Luckily for them that was not an option right now, so instead she vented her anger trough an impressive use of her language capabilities. Two soldiers that had thought it was a good idea to spending some time at the range, turned around and fled the moment they saw her, so she must have made quite a terrifying picture. Even Ironhide took a few steps back.
“Quite impressive.” He stated when she was finished and from his voice she could hear that he really meant it.
“Yeah. Well the personnel at base is quite mixed, and it is amazing what you can pick up. And those damn toasters should be grateful I wasn’t around when they pulled a stunt like that! I would do more than kick their afts.” Sam was still irked, but the she had managed to let go of most of her steam.
Sam was about to say something more when her radio gave a sound, notifying her that there were someone that wanted to speak to her. She smiled to Ironhide apologetic as she tapped her earpiece to open the channel.
“AT-5-niner, go ahead.”
«Sam! Thank God! I need your help. TJ won’t sleep, what do I do?» a slightly hysteric voice sounded in her ear.
“John? That you?” Sam inquired.
«Yes. Please Sammy, help me. What do I do?» The voice she now knew was the almighty Colonel Sheppard replied.
“Okay first off; relax. There is no use stressing; it will only work him up more. How did you end up babysitting anyway?” Sam smirked as she rolled her eyes to Ironhide. ‘My CO’ she mouthed to him, in answer to his silent question.
Sheppard mumbled his answer so low that she only managed to catch something about the flu, but he had relaxed a little as she had intended him to.
“Has he eaten? Clean diapers?” Sam went over the different checkpoints, and for each one she received a confirmation. “Have you tried singing to him?” she eventually asked.
«Singing?» John’s tone told her that it would never have crossed his mind to that.
“Yeah singing. You know lullaby or something similar. Teyla has taught me a couple Athosian ones, but it can be anything. Hell I know someone that song AC/DC songs to get the kid to sleep.” Sam’s grin widened thinking about that.
«Okay… Singing… I can do that…» She heard John saying, but something told her that he was talking more to himself than to her.
“Great. Tell the others that I said hello. AT-5-niner over and out.” Sam tapped the earpiece again to cut the connection, before turning back to Ironhide that were looking at her weirdly.
“That was my CO, somehow he has ended up on babysitting duty.” Sam chuckled. “TJ didn’t want to sleep so John called in the big guns. He probably didn’t want the others to know that he had no idea what to do. Sometimes men are just clueless.” Ironhide nodded his agreement, but it did not look like he knew what exactly he was agreeing to.
“So, I hear you haven’t killed the Twins yet? Have they stopped with all their stunts or…?” Sam asked with a playful grin. The reaction she got was exactly what she had expected; ranting and waving hands as he informed her about the various pranks that had been committed. It was kind of good to be back. She had missed her friends. With a content sight she leaned back and continued reconnecting with the warrior.